1. The Stone Age in and around Coventry.
We know that people of the late Neolithic were grinding flour and baking bread near Coventry at Ryton on Dunsmore when Stonehenge was built because a same-style flint arrowhead to those found at Durrington Walls was discovered on the site.
While perusing my map of Coventry, I noticed an unmarked circle, perhaps a prehistoric settlement, on land owned by Alton Hall farm to the northwest of Allesley Village. Explorer Map 221 SP2890 8207. Nettles are a good indicator of settlement and this area is covered in them.
I also noticed that this circle aligned with a moon maximum and a ring ditch mentioned in the CADAS publication "Stepping into the Past: Historical walks in Allesley, Coundon & Keresley."
This booklet mentions several prehistoric find-spots aligning with the Major Standstill of the Moon. However, I should point out that this picture looks south, and the Major Standstill of the moon is to the north and, therefore, behind us in this photograph.
Allesley: A miniature version of Dorset's Cranborne Chase?
We have covered the Dorset Cursus elsewhere on this site and understand its attraction to early folks for how glacial meltwater had sculpted the Chase into parallel valleys and ridges across which people ran their cursus to give alignments on the sun and moon.
While I am not suggesting that the less pronounced valleys and ridges to the west of Allesley village were sculpted by glaciers - although possible - these ridges were of equal appeal to early folks.
This first picture shows the ridge that extends from the 'City Hill Hotel' on its extreme left to Pickford on the right.
7. The alignment ends to the left of Bensons Wood and in the just visible cornfield.
We park alongside the sharp bend in Fivefield Road, at point six, Walk 4 of the CADAS booklet.
Enter the field via the gate and traverse the rise almost as far as Bensons Wood.
8. Bunson's Wood. Bounded by banks and ditches, inside and out, this wood is crying out for further investigation—particularly a LIDAR scan.
9. This picture was taken from the footpath leading up to Bunson's Wood and from where the previous photo was taken.
This photo looks through a gap in a hedge towards the Iron Age Burrow Hillfort built on top of Corley Rocks. This picture should help you know where we are. More importantly, this view looks over Hounds Hill to where more prehistoric flint tools have been found and which marks the position of the northernmost rising moon when viewed from Eastern Green.
Let's turn around and find our way down to the gate... but not quite.
10. Aerial photography from Google Earth suggests this field contains a pair of doubled-ring ditches.
Queens College, Oxford acquired the land where these ring ditches lie sometime around 1510 to 1529, but why Queens College should want to own it is anyone's guess.
The CADAS booklet says this land is private property and suggests we do not trespass.
I have drawn a white line to mark the southernmost moonset from Hounds Hill.
Seen from Hounds Hill, the southernmost moon would set beneath Tamworth Road. Then, from Tamworth Road, and always having to assume some tree clearance, early folks could have watched the moon as she set beneath the Pickford and Eastern Green Ridges by viewing over the Sherborne valley.
3. A height map of Allesley CP.
4. A view from settlement 1 looking north. See map. Here, we look towards the rising Major Standstill Xmas 2024.
A chance meeting with a rambler told me that archaeologists have recently excavated this area in advance of a housing estate. Since then, archaeologists have returned to strip most of it away! I have no idea what they have or have not found besides a few Roman artefacts. So work for another day! I know that the northernmost moon will be seen to rise in late 2024 to the right of the most distant pylon and where the ridge begins to fall off in height.
The busy A45 is just beyond the tree line. Some lorries parked in a layby can be seen through the trees.
Note the pylon on the left; it is not on the moonrise line, but that is where the following picture was taken from.
5. The previous picture failed to clarify that it was taken from the top of another ridge that had appealed to early folks. This photograph should put things right. X marks the spot where the previous picture was taken and from where archaeologists have been digging.
The grass line, seen passing through the middle of the picture, marks the path of the Pickford brook as it makes its way to join the River Sherbourne. By Xmas 2023, this brook will be travelling through concrete pipes.
Furthermore, the archaeological investigations in the area marked by the X and everything in front of it have been eradicated in preparation for a housing estate. Please do not ask me what I think of the idea.
Although it's doubtful I shall ever see the lorry driver again, thanks are extended to him for allowing me to climb into his cab to get this picture.
6. Having entered these fields from Eastern Green as directed in the CADAS booklet, we paused to photograph the third ridge where one walk started. The trees mark the line of another branch of the Pickford Brook.
Somewhere in this field, a ring ditch was discovered by aerial photography and was proved prehistoric by the artefacts, some Mesolithic, found by C.H.E.P. (Coventry Historic Environment Project) while field-walking.
2. Winter solstice on 20th December 2022.
This photograph of the sun was taken off-axis more by accident than deliberation because it was noticed that if it were taken at the junction of the private lane that leads to Alton Hall Farm, the sun would mark the position of the southernmost moonset come 2033.
If this picture had been taken on-axis - an impossible task with so many obstructions - the sun would have set midway between the electricity pylons.